The UK Energy Bill introduced in July 2015 has received royal assent, marking the formal establishment of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).
The Government said on Wednesday that the Energy Act is designed to help drive forward the government’s energy goals and commitments which further implies greater powers for the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to better support North Sea industry.
OGA is being formally established on the recommendations of the Wood Review into North Sea Oil and Gas, in order to maximize collaboration and management of resources from the UK Continental Shelf.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd said: “The Energy Act is a vital part of our plan to ensure our families and businesses have access to secure, affordable and clean energy supplies they can rely on, while keeping bills down.
„By strengthening the Oil and Gas Authority and giving it powers to drive greater collaboration and efficiency in the industry, this Act shows that the broad shoulders of the UK are committed to helping our oil and gas industry attract investment, support jobs and remain competitive for the future.“
Andy Samuel, Chief Executive of OGA said: „We welcome the news that the Energy Bill has now received Royal Assent. This is an important step in establishing the OGA as an independent government company with the necessary powers, working closely with the industry and government to help maximize the economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources.“
The Energy Act
Mainly, the act will create a framework to formally establish OGA as an independent regulator, taking the form of a government company, so that it can act with greater flexibility and independence. It gives the OGA new powers including: access to external meetings, data acquisition and retention, dispute resolution and sanctions. It also enables the transfer of the Secretary of State’s existing regulatory powers in respect to oil and gas to OGA although the Secretary of State’s environmental regulatory functions in relation to oil and gas are not transferred to OGA.
The Act enables more comprehensive charging of the offshore oil and gas industry in relation to environmental regulatory functions carried out by the DECC.
The law also allows for local communities to be the primary decision makers on new onshore wind developments by removing the need for the Secretary of State’s consent for large onshore wind farms (over 50 megawatts) in England and Wales, required under the Electricity Act 1989. It brings forward the early closure of the Renewables Obligation subsidy scheme to new onshore wind developments in Great Britain.